Friday, June 02, 2006

What I hate about Books

I found this idea through Roswitha's Blog. Here's my chance to indulge in some griping of my own about books, and some things that books do that I wish it would stop doing.

  • Big Hardcover Books: I really don't like books that I cannot hold open with one hand. I like the freedom of one free hand. And besides lugging around these large hardcovers is a pain. When I was reading Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown, I had to carry it around in my backpack, instead of my regular one sling bag. This can get annoying-some. Also, hardcopies are expensive! I bought Shalimar with a gift certificate and I still had to cough up 10 bucks to cover the rest. I have this habit of giving away my books, especially ones I disliked or selling them to the nearest used bookstore. Hardcopies that you have to sell your blood for discourages this habit of mine that I am fond off.
  • Paperback Books with tightly knitted pages: Pirsig was hard to read for many reasons, but the fact that I had to practically break the spine to open the book fully did not help matters. Also these books are impossible to prop up against your bed post for night time reading. I have to do that because I am desi and biologically programmed to sleep on my stomach. I must admit hardcopies are easy to do this with, despite their ornery weight problems.
  • Classics that disappoint that I think are good: I read a few of Franz Kafka's short stories some years ago. Nothing could have been more disappointing. It was so utterly dreary and oppressive that it left a proverbial dark cloud over my head. More recently, was Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Similarly Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being left me cold and uninspired.
  • Classics that disappoint that I think are bad: Kerouac's On the Road. Ayn Rand's FountainHead, Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence. Richard Wright's Native Son. I immensely disliked all these books for their pretension, irritatingly over-done allegory, sloppiness, and sheer unlike-ability.
  • Action-packed Books: They bore me. I cannot read with pleasure long descriptions of people getting hit by bullets, or swinging that sword, or flying that jetplane. In a similar vein, I dislike nautical-themed stories. I am convinced sailors do nothing interesting, until they stand on solid ground again
  • Books convinced it must hand me a moral: And do it with the subtely of an anvil. Especially if the book was a good one, and it decides to turn on me. Why?, I cry. I thoroughly enjoyed Yann Martel's Life of Pi which was partly what made it so painful to come to that end with its cutesy ending. God, I hate that.
  • Screechingly Dislikable Characters that I am supposed to Like: There is this recurrent character that occurs in many awful books. It's usual female. And she's supposed to be "fiery" or "passionate". Instead she is thoroughly obnoxious, rude, childish and easily offended. She needs to die.
I am done for now. Someday we will live in a world where they make nothing but loose-leafed paperbacks for free : ) So what are your bookish complaints?

2 Comments:

Blogger Falstaff said...

Interesting. I'm tempted to leap to Kerouac's defense, but whatever. Just as long as you're not seriously criticising Kafka. Or Dostoyevsky. Either of which I'm liable to take personally. :-).

Also, have you read any other Dostoyevksy? I tend to think of Crime and Punishment as rather sunny and optimistic by comparison, which is why I ask.

4:46 AM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

Everyone leaps to Kerouac's defense, I know, I know. I wanted to like it, I really did. But I yawned the whole way through. And oh no, I would never criticize Kafka. Or Dostoyevksy. Or Kundera, for that matter. Which I read, waiting to be amazed, instead of merely interested in a vague, cold kind of a way.

And no I have never read anything else from Dostoyevksy. I closed Crime and Punishment with relief. I see it was a wise decision:)

11:04 AM  

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